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Anti-racism rallies led to few COVID infections in Alberta, total cases growing

Dr. Hinshaw's concerned about the rise in new cases in recent weeks
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. Only eight COVID-19 cases have been identified among the thousands who attended recent anti-racism rallies in Calgary and Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franso

EDMONTON — Eight COVID-19 cases have been identified among thousands of people who attended recent anti-racism rallies in Calgary and Edmonton.

Alberta's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says the outcome could have been worse had so many people at the events not been wearing masks.

Hinshaw says she's concerned about the rise in new cases in recent weeks, and that people might be starting to tune out public health messages urging the use of masks, hand-washing and physical distancing.

Alberta found 86 new cases of the virus out of nearly 6,000 tests done on Monday.

There were also two new deaths, one of which was linked to an outbreak at Edmonton's Misericordia Community Hospital.

(Below: Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, demonstrates how to use a non-medical mask.)

Hinshaw also says she was disturbed to hear about businesses turning away members of the Siksika Nation east of Calgary, where there are nine active COVID-19 cases.

The First Nation's leadership have acted quickly, transparently and proactively to control the spread of the virus among its 7,500 members, Hinshaw said.

"When the result of that prompt and transparent action is stigma against their members, it sends a message against transparency and risks discouraging people from being tested or co-operating with public health," she said Tuesday.

"The members of the Siksika First Nation deserve better than that. All Albertans of every heritage deserve better than that."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2020.


The Canadian Press